During a Long County Board of Education meeting May 13, a draft budget for fiscal year 2020 was presented. One of the recommendations made by Long County School Superintendent David Edwards is to raise bus drivers pay by $1 an hour, which will be in addition to the state’s 2 percent salary increase for drivers. If approved, this would raise bus drivers’ wages to $18.50 an hour. Edwards said this pay increase would help recruit and retain bus drivers for Long County public schools.
Officials project the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 general fund budget expenditures to be $33.4 million, and projected revenues to be 32.6 million, with an end-of-period fund equity (balance) estimated at $3.5 million.
Other proposed expenditures for 2020 include a 3 percent one-time annual salary payout, a $1 per hour wage increase for classified employees, a $3,000 per year increase for certified workers, along with continued support of the local library, 4-H, STAR program, Sheriff’s Resource Officer and crossing guards, and the purchase of three new buses.
Edwards told school board members once the tax commissioner releases the tax digest, he would likely recommend keeping the millage rate the same as last year, 14.5 mills, or perhaps even roll it back.
The BOE also approved raising school lunch prices next school year by 5 cents for students’ lunches, and by 10 cents for adult lunches to help offset the rising cost of food.
Long County interim county administrator Chuck Scragg addressed the board, informing them that the Board of Commissioners has approved funding for the installation of a new radio tower.
Edwards previously said the tower would cost $40,777, and the expense would be split 50/50 with the County Commission and Long County Sheriff’s Office. A safety grant of about $48,000 can be used to help pay for the tower and some radio equipment, the superintendent said.